LOS ANGELES (AP) — Temple coach Aaron McKie might want to think about bringing his team out to California more often.
The Owls made their first trip to California in 14 years a successful one as they rallied in the second half for a 70-61 victory over Southern California on Friday night.
“It’s really nice to come back and get a win,” said McKie, who spent two years with the Lakers before moving into the coaching ranks.
Josh Pierre-Louis led Temple (4-0) with 15 points while Quinton Rose and Justyn Hamilton each added 12.
The Trojans trailed 31-30 at halftime but scored the first eight points of the second half to take their largest lead. But the Owls would respond with a 26-8 run over the next eight minutes to take control.
Temple was 10 of 18 from the field, including four 3-pointers as it held a 55-44 advantage with 8:45 remaining. De'Vondre Perry scored eight points during the run while Nate Pierre-Louis and Quinton Rose had five each.
“We were able to get pressure and take them out of rhythm. We started to get out in transition and get easy baskets,” McKie said.
USC got within 66-61 with 48 seconds remaining but could not draw closer. Onyeka Okongwu led the Trojans (5-1) with 17 points and Ethan Anderson added 12.
“We shot a low percentage (38.6%). We have to play better offensively, shoot the ball and move the ball,” coach Andy Enfield said. “No one stepped up. We weren’t sharp in a lot of areas.”
Temple led by as many as nine in the first half and was up 29-22 with 3:01 remaining on Josh Pierre-Louis’ layup before the Trojans scored eight straight points. Isaiah Mobley’s layup with 16 seconds remaining gave USC its first lead (31-30) but the Owls would take the lead into the locker room at halftime after Pierre-Louis got a steal under the Temple basket and made a layup at the buzzer.
USC had been dominating on the boards early in the season and had a size advantage over Temple, but the Owls had a 42-38 rebounding advantage. Nate Pierre-Louis had 10 rebounds for Temple, all on the defensive end.
“We’re tough. We’re from Broad Street. This is what we’re going to do,” McKie said.
The Trojans came in averaging 14.6 offensive rebounds per game but were held to six.
“We have too much size and athleticism to only have six offensive rebounds,” Enfield said.
Temple: The Owls came into the game second in the nation in steals (12.3 per game). They had eight against USC, which was a huge reason why they scored 21 points off turnovers.
“We don’t necessarily look to get steals. We want to certainly apply pressure and its been happening,” McKie said. “I feel if we keep people in front of us we will be solid.”
USC: Nick Rakocevic came in with three straight double-doubles in points and rebounds but struggled. The senior center was held to six points, going 2 of 7 from the field, and six rebounds.
Temple: Face Maryland on Thursday at the Orlando Invitational.
USC: Takes on Fairfield on Thursday at the Orlando Invitational.